Heat Pipe Cooler

COUGAR ELECTRONICS provides high performance heat pipe coolers for a wide range of electronic applications going from boards to power converter. Understand better by this page how this technology can solve most of your thermal management issues.

General principle of heat pipes

Heat pipe coolers use heat pipes’ effect in order to carry on calories from one area to another with an extremely high thermal conductivity.

They are generally made up of 3 elements :

  • Evaporating plate : metal plate in contact with the electronic component to cool. The plate’s configuration adapts itself to the geometry of the component (dimensions, drilling, surface’s treatment).
  • Heat pipes : assembled with the evaporating plate, they carry on calories from evaporating area onto the condensing area. Their diameter ans their position vary depending on the power to extract.
  • Condenser area : it can be made up with metal fins that allow the dissipation of calories into a fluid (generally air) or a plate in contact with a colder surface.

At similar dimensions, thermal conductivity of heat pipes are 1000 better than copper and 1700 better than aluminum ! This exceptional property allows heat pipe cooler excellent cooling properties.

Characteristics

Technical datas

  • Dissipated power : 1W to 30kW
  • Working temperatures :-50°C to +200°C
  • Thermal resistance: 5 to 40°C/kW
  • Dissipation : Natural convection / Forced convection / Contact

Advantages

  • Performance (better than any heat sinks)
  • Independence system : none maintenance necessary
  • Compactness
  • Lightness
  • Lifetime > 30 years
  • Extraction of calories from confined environment

Applications

  • Power Electronic
  • Railway
  • Aerospace / Defence
  • Telecommunication
  • Medical
  • Hot spot management

Low Power Heat Pipe Cooler

Heat Pipe are commonly used to cool microprocessor on computers. This is a very interesting solution to cool low power electronic semiconductors like :

  • Peltier Thermoelectric modules
  • Power supply semiconductors
  • LED light
  • CCD video sensor
  • Laser diode
  • Microprocessor

Drain heat pipe can be custom designed following your need to extract the heat from the hot spot and avoid too much thermal dissipation in the ambient temperature of the container. Remember that controlling the temperature of your components is also controlling their life time, and thus their reliability.

COUGAR ELECTRONIC low power heat pipes can cool power losses from 1W to 500W, depending on the configuration of your application.

High Power Heat Pipe Cooler

Heat pipes cooler for high power electronics can evacuate from 500W to 30kW. This technology can bring low thermal resistance and big cooling capacity without the need of any water circulation pump.

Our sister company CECLA METAL PROCESS, is leader in production of big diameter heat pipes for power cooling application.

Based on high section heat pipes, those coolers allow to evacuate losses created by power components such as IGBT, Press-Pack…

The cooler can be designed to fit to your need :

  • Component’s contact plate adapted to your topology of semiconductor
  • Dissipation’s fins sized depending on the available area, the fluid and the flow.
  • Mechanical interface made up depending on your application mounting


Heat pipe coolers can be working with forced convection or natural convection.

An electrical insulation up to 15kV can be added on the component’s interface by integrating ceramic or resin.

Typical example of use:

  • Cooler for Railway auxiliary converter (CVS)
  • Cooler for power electronics in contained atmosphere
  • Air/Air exchanger for overheated atmosphere inside cabinets

Heat Pipe tube

If you wish to build your cooler by yourself, or want to try the technology for a prototype, COUGAR ELECTRONICS has a range of standard heat pipe tubes.

The standards heat pipe tubes can convey from 10W to 500W per tube depending from the diameter and the gravity orientation.

Heat pipes tubes can be added in parallel in order to convey more heat or achieve a better homogeneity :
Example: if you need to cool a semiconductor with 120W losses => your possibles solutions are :

  • 4 heat pipes D5Lxxx : 120W/30W per pipe = 4 pipes
  • 3 heat pipes D6Lxxx : 120W/40W per pipe = 3 pipes
  • 2 heat pipes D8Lxxx : 120W/60W per pipe = 2 pipes

The final choice between those 3 solutions will depend from the size of the semidonductor and the mechanical configuration.

Check in the table below which reference is the best one for your need. We will be happy to assist you in the best choice to make.

Heat pipes tubes are made of soft copper: thus they can be bent to achieve complex shapes. Generally the maximum bending radius allowed is between 2 and 3 time the diameter.

COUGAR ELECTRONICS can perform the bending following your drawing.

Get a quote

  Length (in/mm)
Diameter (in/mm)Max Power rating per tube (W)3.94in / 100mm5.90in / 150mm7.87in / 200mm9.84in / 250mm11.81in / 300mm13.78in / 350mm15.75in / 400mm17.71in / 450mm
0.12in / 3mm10WD3L100D3L150D3L200D3L250----
0.16in / 4mm15WD4L100D4L150D4L200D4L250D4L300---
0.20in / 5mm30WD5L100D5L150D5L200D5L250D5L300D5L350--
0.24in / 6mm40WD6L100D6L150D6L200D6L250D6L300D6L350D6L400-
0.32in / 8mm60WD8L100D8L150D8L200D8L250D8L300D8L350D8L400D8L450
0.39in / 10mm70WD10L100D10L150D10L200D10L250D10L300D10L350D10L400D10L450
0.62in / 15.87mm250W to 500WCustom made on demand
Diameter tolerance: +/-0.5mm +/-0.02in
Length tolerance: +/-1.5mm +/-0.6in
Power rating is indicative: this parameter can vary from delta T, gravity orientation, bending radius

Heat Pipe Cooler

Heat pipes coolers are like the Loch Ness monster... lot's of people are speaking about, but few people have really tested them! This technology sounds a little bit mysterious for people coming from a pure electronics background ! How can such a thing (looking like a basic copper tube), would be able to convey something like 1000 time more calories than the best typical thermal conductor in electronics : copper ! You will certainly find the answer in our dedicated page to the heat pipe functioning, or to heat pipe page on wikipedia, if you want to go deeper in the subject. [caption id="attachment_1877" align="aligncenter" width="685"]Heat Pipe functionning Heat Pipe functionning[/caption]

Thermal management challenges in power electronics

As it was explained in our market analysis article about SIC semiconductors, power electronics is currently at the beginning of a revolution. Semiconductors are now able to work up to incredibly high frequency (50 to 100kHz), with excellent efficiency, and low losses. Because working at high frequency leads to reducing size and weight, this revolution increasesthe density of power losses. New thermal management challenges are in front of us. But good news, heat pipes are here to help solving them ! Here are the main reasons why ?

Heat pipe advantages

  • High thermal conductivity. Because heat pipes are using one of the most efficient way to convey calories : phase change, their high thermal conductivity will be the best advantage to solve your thermal management issues.
[caption id="attachment_1880" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Heat Pipe thermal conductivity simulation Heat Pipe thermal conductivity simulation[/caption]
  • Temperature range. It is mainly depending from the working fluid inside the heat pipe. Considering most of the power electronics application going from 50 to 200 degC, you will not find a better fluid than water. Good news, water is not dangerous and not explosive as you may know... Bad news, water is electrically conductor as you may know too. Electronics designer never sleeps soundly when water flows close to their components ! If you feel a bit of apprehension, read our next point.
 
  • Reliability. Heat pipes are excellent in reliability because they use no mooving mechanical parts and need no energy like electricity. No worry about maintaining the motor or the filter of your pump like in a cooling loop. The difference of temperature is the only "motor" which garanty an endless  functionning. Heat pipes are commonly used in aerospace application and railway, where life cycle of the product can be up to 50 years !
[caption id="attachment_1861" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Railway Heat Pipe Cooler Railway Heat Pipe Cooler[/caption] We hope this article have contributed to better understanding of heat pipes.

Contact us

For any question, enquiry, contact COUGAR ELECTRONICS here. Our thermal engineers will be happy to help :-)
X